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  1. #1
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    Most reliable, least maintenance bike

    For your theoretical dream bike build or just a part(s) you know is the answer, what is the most reliable, least maintenance trail bike you can think of?

    I posted in singlespeed because I figured that would be the correct drivetrain type. Then I thought rigid is a given. What are your specifics?


    Edit to say I was thinking for the purposes of this question, no price constraints but whatever the answers, the items should be existing and readily available for purchase. As for usage of the bike, any trail you'd be willing to ride rigid.
    Last edited by jpre; 05-09-2016 at 03:15 PM.

  2. #2
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    There are a ton of super reliable options and picking from them largely depends on how much you want to spend and what your priorities are.


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    Probably a rigid fixie with solid rubber tires and an overbuilt frame and fork out of carbon, aluminum, or something that won't rust. Use chain ring and cog that works with a dirtbike chain.

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    Gravity will not be kind to that spec.

  5. #5
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    Most reliable, least maintenance bike

    Ti, rigid singlespeed, belt-drive. Thompson cockpit. 4 pawl steel freehub on a 32 hole rims. Ti saddle. BB7 brakes. 2.3/2.4 Specialized Grid tires. Just my 2 cents.
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  6. #6
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    The frame rusting is way way down on the list of likely failures. If you leave your bike subjected to the elements your drivetrain is going to freeze up years before a steel frame will rust through.

    Steel or titanium outlast carbon fiber or aluminum because they are more resilient. Aluminum gets metal fatigue, carbon fiber stretches and delaminates when it's repeatedly flexed.

    But chains, hubs, bottom brackets, tires, brake pads, brake rotors, chain rings, and other components are going to wear out and fail way before even a fairly lightweight carbon frame.

  7. #7
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    Kona Unit or equivalent with 2.4" tyres.
    Stick a decent BB, headset and hubs on it and you're away.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBeing View Post
    Ti, rigid singlespeed, belt-drive. Thompson cockpit. 4 pawl steel freehub on a 32 hole rims. Ti saddle. BB7 brakes. 2.3/2.4 Specialized Grid tires. Just my 2 cents.
    Ti is the "price is no object" solution, but you get most of the same benefits from steel.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpre View Post
    For your theoretical dream bike build or just a part(s) you know is the answer, what is the most reliable, least maintenance trail bike you can think of?
    I set out to build just that bike many years ago.

    It's a rigid Surly 1x1 - planned obsolescence has no meaning for this bike.

    The frame design has huge tyre clearance - it was designed for 3" way back in 1998! This enables it to survive the wheel fashion cycles, ie as well as its original 26" you can run 29er, 27.5", 27.5+" and I have tried them all. Also tried was a fat front. The best is the original 26" with Surly Dirt Wizard 2.8" tyres. Absolutely superb, and much better than 2".

    It's steel - I have 80 year old steel bikes that ride just as well as they did new - so it's easily repaired and corrosion is only a problem for people who neglect their bikes.

    It has Sturmey-Archer drum brakes. It's unlikely to wear out the linings in 10 years, the hubs are bulletproof and much more free spinning when fitted than almost all mtb hubs I have tried. It's had cantis and v-brakes, which are ok in the dry, but wear out rims in our local abrasive mud. Then disks until I got fed up off replacing pads.

    It uses a rust proof chain, stainless steel chainring, and (usually) stainless steel cogs.

    The rims are downhill rims from 1998, so they are not super light (but not heavy either) and they were unfashionably wide until recently at 40mm. I specified 36 hole rims when I built the wheels because although 32 hole is strong enough, 4 extra spokes make it even stronger and do not weigh much. I haven't had to retrue the wheel since I rebuilt it with the S-A hubs several years ago.

    Cranks are Specialized on a Shimano splined BB which I fitted temporarily 12 years ago. Packing it with grease seems to have prolonged its life.

    Pedals are old fashioned track type which I find are lighter and just as grippy as fancy flats. I filled them with grease when new and they had a refill about 2 years ago.

    Seatpost and saddle are SDG I-Beam. Light, but rock hard which is not a problem because if you ride SS your posterior doesn't touch the saddle except when you're slacking. They're several years old too.

    Forks are Ti, not because it's Ti but because they're shorter than the Surly fork, so it sharpens up the steering a wee bit. When I first built it it had the latest technology in the shape of a Girvin, then a Fournales fork. However I've come to the conclusion that simpler is better.

    Cosmetically it is battle scarred after many 24 hour races. I was going to give it a refresh with a new powder coat this year, but decided I liked it just as it is.

    Although it's 18 years old I still use it regularly, and it's not a dream bike, it's a reality.




    Best of all you can still buy 1x1 frames.
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  10. #10
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    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ogre View Post
    carbon fiber stretches and delaminates when it's repeatedly flexed.
    Even if that was true...it would take quite a while. There's people on carbon bikes well over 20 years old. Chances I'd keep a bike that long are pretty slim anyways...and even if I did...I have no concern that a carbon frame won't last me as long as I keep riding save for a crash that damages it. Hell...new carbon frames will probably last a lifetime if cared for properly.
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  12. #12
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    All I gota say, steel is real.

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    I figured carbon fiber frames would be generally ruled out not because they don't hold up under regular usage, but for reasons like if you fell on top of it, it might not fare so well.

    I don't mean for this thread to degenerate into solely a steel vs ti debate, but I was wondering if anyone had anecdotal opinions about which material breaks more often in average build configurations by manufacturers. Or if there's simply not enough difference for that to be a reliability factor. I know ti breaks more than what people seem to think about it being invulnerable.

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    I think they break about even if the quality of the metal and welds are the same, and they are both treated as poorly for as long. Ti might have a slight advantage because of the "rust" issue, but it's still a metal frame that crazy single speeders are beating up.

    It's just the weight that makes ti so much higher profile and desirable, and the cost that keeps it out of peoples reach. Since this is a dream bike though, I'd rather have titanium than carbon. I like the flexy feel of steel over the rigidity of CF. rider weight comes into it too. What's flexy for me may be rock hard for someone else.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike
    It has Sturmey-Archer drum brakes. It's unlikely to wear out the linings in 10 years, the hubs are bulletproof and much more free spinning when fitted than almost all mtb hubs I have tried. It's had cantis and v-brakes, which are ok in the dry, but wear out rims in our local abrasive mud. Then disks until I got fed up off replacing pads.
    I think you think a lot like I do. I had 36h rims on my first serious road bike and first fs mtb.

    What is a rust proof chain? Brand, model?

    Those brakes you have are partially what made me think of this topic in the first place. Do you have the 90mm version? Do you have the front torque arm bolted into disc brake mounts? Is that a standard available thing?

    Do you go tubed or tubeless for least maintenance? I'm guessing reliability would nod to tubeless.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    Even if that was true...it would take quite a while. There's people on carbon bikes well over 20 years old. Chances I'd keep a bike that long are pretty slim anyways...and even if I did...I have no concern that a carbon frame won't last me as long as I keep riding save for a crash that damages it. Hell...new carbon frames will probably last a lifetime if cared for properly.
    It's nice to hear there are some 20 year old carbon bikes out there, personally I've seen 4 frames die early deaths due to various carbon failures so "reliable" isn't the first word I associate with it.

    It's improved a lot , Both of my current mountain bikes are carbon, but if I was building a "forever bike" I'd get steel. For me (and many) carbon is about choosing performance over durability.

  17. #17
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    singlespeeds puts more stress on the frame and components then a geared bike

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpre View Post
    I think you think a lot like I do. I had 36h rims on my first serious road bike and first fs mtb.

    What is a rust proof chain? Brand, model?

    Those brakes you have are partially what made me think of this topic in the first place. Do you have the 90mm version? Do you have the front torque arm bolted into disc brake mounts? Is that a standard available thing?

    Do you go tubed or tubeless for least maintenance? I'm guessing reliability would nod to tubeless.
    With tubeless you get fewer failures due to flats but you do need to recharge it every few months so it is potentially higher maintenance.

  19. #19
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    Wanting the utmost in durability and reliability is a slippery slope.
    You could go with burly steel frame and fork, overbuilt rims, and heavy tires, DH cranks, pedals, bar, and stem, larger chainring and cog for less wear, things like that, but do you want really to ride that bike? A >30lb bike with no suspension and one gear? At some point you have to say "this is enough".

    I like the idea of Santa Cruz's Chameleon and aluminum Highball.
    Easily adjustable and replaceable Swinger dropouts for SS that don't rely on friction or require adjusting brake calipers combined with a threaded BB and lifetime warranty make for an attractive package if the geometry is suitable. More options wouldn't be a bad thing, for consumers, but I can appreciate them keeping it to a more XC-oriented 29er and stouter, slacker, longer travel 27.5 for getting a little rowdier.
    Threaded BB from Hope or CK with RF Turbine Cinch cranks, whose direct mount method completely eliminates the use of bolts...that's the kind of stuff I'm looking at for a dedicated SS build that I don't want to have to mess with much.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpre View Post
    ...What is a rust proof chain? Brand, model?

    Those brakes you have are partially what made me think of this topic in the first place. Do you have the 90mm version? Do you have the front torque arm bolted into disc brake mounts? Is that a standard available thing?

    Do you go tubed or tubeless for least maintenance? I'm guessing reliability would nod to tubeless.
    1. Wippermann or KMC do good chains. I no longer look past them, but like tyres, they are a consumable.

    2. Yes, 90mm. I tried the 70mm on the front and it was ok, but I found on a 24 hour it was tough on my forearms on steep descents. The 90mm is very good IMO. I modify the torque arms to fit the disk mounts. The pic is of my Pugsley which is similarly set up - I modified a seatpost QR so the torque arm can be released quickly. With the wingnuts on the axle I can remove this wheel in the time it takes to wind an ordinary QR past its lawyer tabs.





    3. Always tubed. If I lived in an area with thorns, I would consider tubeless, but otherwise I regard it as too much faff. However I use Schwalbe lightweight tubes and liberal amounts of talcum powder when I fit them, and they are reliable - punctures are rare. Basically because I don't fancy a trailside repair to a tubeless if it did get sufficiently holed to need repair.

    Edit:
    As far as frame materials are concerned, I think it's irrelevant for a forever bike.

    Components are going to be picked for long life and reliability, so they are not going to be the lightest. By the time you spec out a carbon or Ti frame like that it's no longer a lightweight. Steel is the most repairable - the others can be repaired but usually need specialist attention, but a competent welder can fix your steel frame if need be. Aluminium depends on the type of alloy. If you don't know what you have (and it can be different on various parts of the bike) repairs can be a lottery.

    (I know you can fix carbon at home, but most carbon failures I've seen have been catastrophic in nature and beyond the skills of a home repairer.)
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishywishy View Post
    singlespeeds puts more stress on the frame and components then a geared bike
    Nothing from Shimano or SRAM is reliable enough to even look at here. A well made frame lasts decades even used as a single speed. A derailleur based drivetrain has tons of moving parts and bits that wear out after a few hundred miles.

    It might be interesting to see how long a Rholoff or Pinion drive lasts versus a single speed but they have a fair number of extra moving bits as well.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ogre View Post
    Nothing from Shimano or SRAM is reliable enough to even look at here.
    Help me understand this statement.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by A1an View Post
    Help me understand this statement.
    Compared to a single speed, geared bikes with derailleurs are far less reliable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ogre View Post
    Compared to a single speed, geared bikes with derailleurs are far less reliable.
    I don't think my knees would be too reliable after trying to climb these hills on a singlespeed.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by andytiedye View Post
    I don't think my knees would be too reliable after trying to climb these hills on a singlespeed.
    We weren't talking about your knees

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    Nobody's talking about derailleurs, either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jpre View Post
    For your theoretical dream bike build or just a part(s) you know is the answer, what is the most reliable, least maintenance trail bike you can think of?

    I posted in singlespeed because I figured that would be the correct drivetrain type. Then I thought rigid is a given. What are your specifics?


    Edit to say I was thinking for the purposes of this question, no price constraints but whatever the answers, the items should be existing and readily available for purchase. As for usage of the bike, any trail you'd be willing to ride rigid.
    If parts availability is a variable, let's take this to the extreme and imagine you were global touring. You'd probably go with a rigid ss 26er with cable rim brakes. I think...
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by buell View Post
    If parts availability is a variable, let's take this to the extreme and imagine you were global touring. You'd probably go with a rigid ss 26er with cable rim brakes. I think...
    I'd go with drums. With rim brakes your rims are consumables.

    However most global explorers have used rim brakes.

    I'd also enclose my chain as much as possible to lengthen its life and those of the chainring and cog. My 1935 Sunbeam which has a full oilbath chaincase had a 1930s chain in it when I got it. It was not worn out even though the bike had very likely covered at least 50,000 miles in its life. I only replaced it to preserve it.

    Quote Originally Posted by andytiedye View Post
    I don't think my knees would be too reliable after trying to climb these hills on a singlespeed.
    I think the knee issue is a furphy. I don't know any longterm singlespeeders who have knee problems other than those caused by injuries, eg falls.

    Where you do see knee problems is in new singlespeeders who aren't bike fit and try to push macho gearing because they want to look cool.

    Don't forget the largest % of bikes in the world are singlespeeds and they are often ridden with colossal loads on them without knee problems because the riders are fit.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike
    I think the knee issue is a furphy. I don't know any longterm singlespeeders who have knee problems other than those caused by injuries, eg falls.
    I'm not so sure. I wonder if some of those who do sustain knee injuries simply quit singlespeeding and don't get into conversations about it.

    I phrased my original question as most reliable and least maintenance as equivalent, but in my head I guess I was thinking least maintenance was my highest priority with reliability as additional. It seems to me there has to be some component of reliability otherwise low maintenance is not as great a benefit.

    To summarize rigid steel frame/fork, ti acceptable alternate. Threaded bb with sliding dropouts of some sort. Tubes in most any sort of relatively high spoke wheelset. I guess people aren't overly concerned about hubs.

    I'm interested in the drum brake concept, but if one were forced to use disc brakes I wondered what people's opinions might be, so I searched the brake forum. There don't seem to be as many threads about this as I might have thought. The general answer seems to be Saint/Zee/XT. Personally I wonder if Guides could give those a least maintenance challenge.

    I see another answer here seems to mostly be chain drive. I'd believe belt would be less maintenance, but would one be giving up to much reliability and field serviceability?

  30. #30
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    I think the ideal low maintenance/high reliability bike will be different for different people and uses. Somebody riding around the world through third world countries will have different requirements vs someone racing the TD vs someone just riding their local trails.

    I fall in the last of those categories, and have been simplifying my rides for many years. Here is what my bike would be if cost were not a concern and with an eye toward light weight and performance:

    Medium weight titanium frame and Jones titanium truss fork
    Chris King headset (new style with the split ring)
    Moots titanium 27.2 layback seatpost
    Thomson stem
    Groovy titanium Luv Handles
    Shimano XT hydraulic brakes
    SRAM X9 aluminum cranks
    Chris King threaded BB
    Old school Time ATAC pedals
    Direct mount Wolf Tooth stainless chainring
    Wolf Tooth stainless cog
    SRAM PC58 chain
    DT Swiss 240s hubs
    WTB I35 rims
    WTB Silverado titanium saddle

    Tires are consumables, so I won't go into that, but I would definitely do tubeless and 27.5+.

    If I was racing the Tour Divide, some of those choices would be different, like using a Rohloff.

    As far as frame material, it should be a no brainer to eliminate aluminum and carbon from the equation. Aluminum frames have a finite lifespan, and carbon is subject to damage from crashes etc. I'm sure a carbon frame can last decades if well cared for and you never take a spill, but this is a mountain bike forum, and crashes happen. I do think we see a higher percentage of titanium frames fail, but I think that has to do with more custom frames being titanium, and people pushing the lightness envelop with Ti. But if I was riding around the world, I would most definitely choose a steel frame, mainly because it is easier to find someone to repair it in a third world country.

  31. #31
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    My original question was in regard to a (local) trail bike, but the thoughts about world touring give me other aspects to think about so I appreciate it even if it's only adjacent to the topic.

    Also in my head I've been keeping Rohloffs in mind as I have one and know how low maintenance it's been, practically abused, and it seems to have no intention of breaking. Which is why I ponder disc brakes as well since I don't think I can have a Sturmey drum brake Rohloff.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpre View Post
    ...Also in my head I've been keeping Rohloffs in mind as I have one and know how low maintenance it's been, practically abused, and it seems to have no intention of breaking. Which is why I ponder disc brakes as well since I don't think I can have a Sturmey drum brake Rohloff.
    Rohloffs are very reliable. My brother has a considerable mileage on his, often towing a trailer with a full campset over very rough ground.

    A few years back Rohloff had a competition for the Rohloff with the most miles - I believe there were several with documented mileages of over 100,000. (The winner got a gold-plated one)

    I have a Rohloff too, but I'm waiting to be old and frail enough to need it.

    Damn singlespeed is keeping me too fit.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpre View Post
    I'm not so sure. I wonder if some of those who do sustain knee injuries simply quit singlespeeding and don't get into conversations about it...
    That's western world thinking.

    There's still all the billions of singlespeed riders in the 3rd world. Many of them quite ancient.
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    Ok, how many of them do you think get off and walk when pedaling gets hard vs trail riders who intentionally try not to walk because it's fun, rather than just transportation or whatever?

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    That's western world thinking.

    There's still all the billions of singlespeed riders in the 3rd world. Many of them quite ancient.
    You're probably correct but who cares?

    If I understood the OP correctly this thread is dedicated to suggestions about a "low maintenance - high reliability" trail mountainbike for first world people.

    If you're looking for a 20kg bicycle shaped object suited to please African people head over to www.worldbicyclerelief.org

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    I do actually care a little bit about the knee discussion as a different topic. I find my knees are a bit more sore after ss'ing than with my very low granny gears. But I believe the lowest gear on my fastest road bike is slightly higher than the gear on my ss, so not completely sure what to think about that.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpre View Post
    Ok, how many of them do you think get off and walk when pedaling gets hard vs trail riders who intentionally try not to walk because it's fun, rather than just transportation or whatever?
    Walking is bottom gear for singlespeeders. If you gear low enough not to have to walk occasionally you're geared too low.

    Not getting off and walking is as smart as doing full squats with an overloaded bar, and does much the same damage. That is not the fault of the single speed bike, but of a poor decision.

    But we should keep this on topic of most reliable, least maintenance bike, so let's drop it - or open a different thread.
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  38. #38
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    Most bike failures are due to poor maintenance or impacts, things like metal fatigue or rust are way down the list. As much as people love to use durability to justify large purchases, a Salsa El Mariachi SS with XT brakes is going to be as reliable as the most expensive Jeff Jones rig with drum brakes so long as you keep the bike maintained.

    Being religious about maintenance and replacing parts when they are nearing their expected life is several orders of magnitude more important than spending $3000 on a boutique frame.

    This whole drum brake thing baffles me. There is a reason people don't use them, they are heavy and performance isn't as good as disk brakes. Shimano disc brakes are ridiculously reliable so long as you change out the brake pads on a timely basis. I have some 13 year old Deore disk brakes that are still magic and I've never had a set of Shimano discs fail me *except when I waited too long to check for pad wear*.

    If doing regular bike maintenance strikes you as overly burdensome, no amount of spending money on components is going to make your bike reliable. Conversely, buying *Good* components, (King, Shimano XT, Soma, Salsa, Jones, etc) and take care of your bike and reliability won't be an issue.

    I know, way more boring than spending tons of money on oddball exotic components, but most of the suggestions I've seen offer only minuscule improvements in reliability at big costs.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ogre View Post
    ...This whole drum brake thing baffles me. There is a reason people don't use them, they are heavy and performance isn't as good as disk brakes. Shimano disc brakes are ridiculously reliable so long as you change out the brake pads on a timely basis. I have some 13 year old Deore disk brakes that are still magic and I've never had a set of Shimano discs fail me *except when I waited too long to check for pad wear*....
    Have you ever used a properly set up modern drum Brake? eg Sturmey-Archer 90mm.

    Most people are surprised by how good mine are. It's all in the setup, good levers, compressionless outers.

    There's nothing wrong with disk brakes, and I'm not saying drums are "better", they are different. If your life is spent hurtling downhill then you need the most powerful brakes you can get (which rules out most disks as well), but then any bike used like that is hardly going to last a long time anyway (at least not around my neck of the woods).

    A lot of my riding is done on poor surfaces and there's lots of mud. It's highly abrasive. It murders rims on rim brake bikes, and it consumes disk pads and rotors. At £15 an end for pads, that gets expensive, and it does not constitute reliability IMO even though the brake itself is otherwise good. On the other hand my drum brakes seem impossible to wear out - in 5 years of use, I haven't had to replace the linings and they look good for several times that.

    As for the weight, I imagine it would be possible to build disks that would be as reliable, but then they would be much heavier because the calliper would have to be much wider to accommodate more pad material, and the rotor thicker. It would also be possible to make the drum brakes lighter* - they are very much overbuilt. However as it stands drums are the most reliable low maintenance brake I have ever used.

    When it comes to power, the drum is good enough for my 24 hour races, nice modulation and sufficient power to do a hard stop (it's a slightly easier squeeze on a BB7 though). It has improved the number of laps I get in because I don't have to do brake pad changes (it's muddy here).

    Braking power can be improved quite dramatically on a drum by using different linings. When I first fitted them, it was with the intention of finding the current equivalent of Ferodo green linings which we used to use on fast vintage motorbikes. (The vintage motorbike guys are a good source of info for that, if you're interested). However after the brakes had bedded in I decided they were powerful enough and I preferred the feel.

    Apart from longevity, there is one area where the Sturmey-Archer drum has a clear advantage over a disk. You never get brake drag from a warped disk.

    I'm not trying to convert anyone to drum brakes, but we are here to discuss most reliable and least maintenance, and their power is more than adequate.





    *Drum brakes are popular with velocar racers here, and they turn down the hubs to remove all excess material, making them significantly lighter.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57º36' Highlands, Scotland

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    Have you ever used a properly set up modern drum Brake? eg Sturmey-Archer 90mm.

    I have and as far as performance they can't compete with a good disc brake IMO, I live in an arid environment so mud isn't an issue though. As far as reliability they have been 100% so far, but then again so were my v's.

    So I guess what brakes are best is subject to where one lives.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ogre View Post
    Most bike failures are due to poor maintenance or impacts, things like metal fatigue or rust are way down the list. As much as people love to use durability to justify large purchases, a Salsa El Mariachi SS with XT brakes is going to be as reliable as the most expensive Jeff Jones rig with drum brakes so long as you keep the bike maintained.

    Being religious about maintenance and replacing parts when they are nearing their expected life is several orders of magnitude more important than spending $3000 on a boutique frame.

    This whole drum brake thing baffles me. There is a reason people don't use them, they are heavy and performance isn't as good as disk brakes. Shimano disc brakes are ridiculously reliable so long as you change out the brake pads on a timely basis. I have some 13 year old Deore disk brakes that are still magic and I've never had a set of Shimano discs fail me *except when I waited too long to check for pad wear*.

    If doing regular bike maintenance strikes you as overly burdensome, no amount of spending money on components is going to make your bike reliable. Conversely, buying *Good* components, (King, Shimano XT, Soma, Salsa, Jones, etc) and take care of your bike and reliability won't be an issue.

    I know, way more boring than spending tons of money on oddball exotic components, but most of the suggestions I've seen offer only minuscule improvements in reliability at big costs.
    I agree with most of those points, but for certain components, choosing wisely will have you riding more and doing less maintenance. I think on mountain bikes I see that mostly in parts that contain bearings. Cheap bottom brackets, headsets, and hubs will kill bearings very quickly and require more maintenance than components that are precisely machined and contain quality bearings.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpre View Post
    I see another answer here seems to mostly be chain drive. I'd believe belt would be less maintenance, but would one be giving up to much reliability and field serviceability?
    I have a little over 3 thousand miles on my belt drive, no issues. I won’t go back to a chain anytime soon.

  43. #43
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    Most reliable, least maintenance bike

    Quote Originally Posted by bikeny View Post
    I agree with most of those points, but for certain components, choosing wisely will have you riding more and doing less maintenance. I think on mountain bikes I see that mostly in parts that contain bearings. Cheap bottom brackets, headsets, and hubs will kill bearings very quickly and require more maintenance than components that are precisely machined and contain quality bearings.
    Fully agree. I just feel like a lot of the ideas being tossed around here are way out in left field and sacrifice ride quality or piles of cash for microscopic gains in reliability.

    Edit: ... belt drive does strike me as something that could significantly increase reliability. Chain wear is inevitable.

  44. #44
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    My second bike is an On One Inbred 29er, fixed gear. I can't imagine it being much more simple, it's basically a set of wheels, some pedals, and a couple chainrings with one brake on the front. I literally never have to do anything to it except tension/lube the chain.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    I set out to build just that bike many years ago.

    It's a rigid Surly 1x1 - planned obsolescence has no meaning for this bike.

    The frame design has huge tyre clearance - it was designed for 3" way back in 1998! This enables it to survive the wheel fashion cycles, ie as well as its original 26" you can run 29er, 27.5", 27.5+" and I have tried them all. Also tried was a fat front. The best is the original 26" with Surly Dirt Wizard 2.8" tyres. Absolutely superb, and much better than 2".

    It's steel - I have 80 year old steel bikes that ride just as well as they did new - so it's easily repaired and corrosion is only a problem for people who neglect their bikes.

    It has Sturmey-Archer drum brakes. It's unlikely to wear out the linings in 10 years, the hubs are bulletproof and much more free spinning when fitted than almost all mtb hubs I have tried. It's had cantis and v-brakes, which are ok in the dry, but wear out rims in our local abrasive mud. Then disks until I got fed up off replacing pads.

    It uses a rust proof chain, stainless steel chainring, and (usually) stainless steel cogs.

    The rims are downhill rims from 1998, so they are not super light (but not heavy either) and they were unfashionably wide until recently at 40mm. I specified 36 hole rims when I built the wheels because although 32 hole is strong enough, 4 extra spokes make it even stronger and do not weigh much. I haven't had to retrue the wheel since I rebuilt it with the S-A hubs several years ago.

    Cranks are Specialized on a Shimano splined BB which I fitted temporarily 12 years ago. Packing it with grease seems to have prolonged its life.

    Pedals are old fashioned track type which I find are lighter and just as grippy as fancy flats. I filled them with grease when new and they had a refill about 2 years ago.

    Seatpost and saddle are SDG I-Beam. Light, but rock hard which is not a problem because if you ride SS your posterior doesn't touch the saddle except when you're slacking. They're several years old too.

    Forks are Ti, not because it's Ti but because they're shorter than the Surly fork, so it sharpens up the steering a wee bit. When I first built it it had the latest technology in the shape of a Girvin, then a Fournales fork. However I've come to the conclusion that simpler is better.

    Cosmetically it is battle scarred after many 24 hour races. I was going to give it a refresh with a new powder coat this year, but decided I liked it just as it is.

    Although it's 18 years old I still use it regularly, and it's not a dream bike, it's a reality.




    Best of all you can still buy 1x1 frames.
    That is awesome.
    Ultralight bikepacking and gear lists... MaxTheCyclist.com

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